Government troops have apparently routed a strong leftist guerrilla offensive in the northern province of Chalatenango but most of the 1,500 guerrillas escaped over the border to Honduras, an army spokesman said.
Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell writes that the offensive was apparently halted near Dulce Nombre de Maria, about 100 miles north of the capital, after the government brought in reinforcements from other areas.
There were reports that Cubans, Panamanians, and Nicaraguans were among the guerrillas, most of whom were Salvadorans.
Col. Adolfo Armando Majano, ousted from the defunct joint military-civilian junta earlier in December, said he did not believe the guerrillas were militarily strong enough to overthrow the government. But he added that he now supported its overthrow.